How to Create an Online Memorial for a Departed Loved One
Dear Savvy Senior,
My mother passed away last week, and because of COVID, we didn’t have a funeral. I would like to create some type of online memorial for her so family and friends can express their condolences and share their stories. What can you tell me about making an online memorial for my mom?
I’m very sorry for your loss. Creating an online memorial for your mom is a great idea and one that’s become increasingly popular in the age of COVID. Thousands of families have created them for their departed loved ones, especially those who didn’t have a proper funeral because of the pandemic. Here’s what you should know.
What is an Online Memorial?
An online memorial is a website created for a deceased person that provides a central location where their family and friends can visit to share stories, fond memories, and photographs, as well as comfort one another and grieve. The memorial can remain online for life, or a specific period of time, allowing people to visit and contribute at any time in the privacy of their own space.
Online memorials started popping up on the Internet in the late 1990s but were created primarily for people who were well known. But now, these sites are for anyone who wants to pay tribute to their departed family member or friend and ensure they will be remembered.
Content typically posted on an online memorial includes a biography, pictures, and stories from family and friends, timelines of key events in their life, along with favorite music and even videos.
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Another common feature is an online guestbook where visitors sign their names and write tributes to the departed. Online memorials can also direct visitors to the departed person’s favorite charity or cause to make a donation, as an alternative to sending funeral flowers.
Some online memorial sites today even offer virtual funeral/event capabilities as a replacement for an in-person funeral. And they’ll help you get the word out by offering invitations and RSVP tracking.
Top Online Memorials
To make an online memorial there are a wide variety of websites available that make it easier than ever to create a thoughtful, personalized profile for your mom to celebrate and honor her life, and the process of creating it can be very satisfying.
You also need to know that some online memorial sites are completely free to use, while others offer a free and paid version that provides additional features.
If your mom used Facebook, you can also turn her profile into a memorialized account for free when you show proof of death. This option will let your mom’s family and friends share stories, photos, or memories to celebrate her life, with the word “Remembering” shown next to her name.
Once her account is memorialized, the content she shared is still visible on Facebook to the audience it was originally shared with, however, her profile will not show up in public spaces such as people she may know, ads, or birthday reminders.
In addition, you can also request a Look Back video, which is a short video created by Facebook highlighting your mom’s pictures and most liked status messages.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.
Jim MillerContributing Writer
Jim Miller is the creator of Savvy Senior, a syndicated information column for older Americans and their families that is published in more than 300 U.S. newspapers and magazines. Jim is also a contributor to NBC’s “Today” show and KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, and is the author of The Savvy Senior, The Ultimate Guide to Health, Family and Finances for Senior Citizens.
Jim is frequently quoted in articles about issues affecting senior citizens and has been featured in numerous national publications, including Time magazine, USA Today and The New York Times. In addition, he has made multiple appearances on CNBC, CNN, Retirement Living Television and national public television. Read more from Jim Miller.